National Care Service: fairer Scotland duty assessment

Fairer Scotland duty assessment for the National Care Service (Scotland) Bill.


This is a summary of the Fairer Scotland Duty Assessment (FSDA) conducted on the National Care Service (Scotland) Bill. This FSDA has been carried out in accordance with Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010, which came into force in April 2018.

Scottish Ministers are required to actively consider what more can be done to reduce the inequalities of outcome caused by socio-economic disadvantage when making strategic decisions.

The findings in this summary are based on desk-based research, the formal analysis of the consultation on the National Care Service (NCS), and further stakeholder engagement and feedback that took place after the NCS consultation.

The NCS Bill sets out the provisions necessary for the Scottish Ministers to establish a National Care Service to exercise responsibility for planning, commissioning and delivering social work and social care support services and for planning and commissioning of community health services, with Health Boards continuing to deliver community health services. The details of the design of the NCS will be established by working collaboratively with people with lived and living experience of the social care system to ensure that it operates in a way that supports those it is designed to help. The input of current delivery partners and stakeholders will be important to the co-design process.

Many of the provisions in the Bill relating to the NCS are therefore powers to introduce secondary legislation, which will be based on the outcome of that further engagement and co-design with people with lived experience, delivery partners, and key stakeholders. Certain elements of the structures of the NCS, such as establishing the national structure as a directorate within the Scottish Government or an executive agency, do not require legislation and so provisions relating to these elements are not contained in the Bill, but are still addressed below.

In addition to setting out the provisions necessary to create the structures and governance arrangements for the NCS, the Bill also sets out provisions relating to: transfer of functions to the NCS; information standards and care records, complaints, breaks from caring, visiting rights in care homes, ethical commissioning, and the regulation of social services.

While the details of the NCS will be developed in conjunction with people with lived and living experience, the overarching approach of the NCS will be to:

  • Provide leadership, oversight, and accountability for community health and social care, including by providing strategic direction and planning at the national and regional levels;
  • Uphold the NCS principles and develop and adhere to the charter of rights for people who access care and support and ensure human rights are embedded throughout its work;
  • Develop and maintain a national system for effective complaints and redress for NCS services;
  • Create, manage and promote national social care policies, setting national standards and developing practice standards, models and guidance to improve access to care;
  • Create a framework for ethical commissioning and procurement to support the NCS principles and other important priorities, such as decarbonisation and the circular economy;
  • Support Fair Work in social care, and carry out workforce planning;
  • Include the National Social Work Agency (NSWA) to support and invest in the social work profession;
  • Procure complex and specialist services at the national level;
  • Plan and commission social work, social care support and community health services via geographically-based local care boards;
  • Deliver social work and social care via geographically-based local care boards.

The NCS programme will contribute to achieving the following national outcomes:

  • We live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe
  • We have a globally competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy
  • We are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society
  • We have thriving and innovative businesses, with quality jobs and fair work for everyone
  • We are healthy and active
  • We respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination



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